As a small business owner, you might think that large companies have an easier time marketing themselves. After all, they have a huge budget and an entire department to develop and implement marketing campaigns.
Well, what they don’t have is the local advantage that you do. After all, you actually know your customers, which means you know how to market your business locally better than the big guys do.
If you’re looking for some ideas about online local marketing, here are the top eight local marketing ideas for small business:
1. Get Listed Online
Double-check that you are listed in all of the big online directories, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, and the most popular online review sites, such as Yelp and Foursquare. Don’t forget about your local chamber of commerce, either.
2. Ask for Reviews
Because search results appear by the companies with the best social clout, it’s important to not only ask for reviews but also make it easy for customers to review you. Be sure to provide links to review sites on your website and in your email marketing to make reviewing even easier for your customers.
3. Highlight Your Contact Information
Your business name, street address, and local phone number—not a toll-free 800 number—should be prominently displayed on your website and appear consistently online. Search engines check for consistency in that information.
4. Participate in Local Events
Sponsor or participate in local community events or host your own. You’ll get publicity in local newspapers and on social media as people share and talk about the event.
5. Optimize Your Site for Mobile
Your mobile site should be easy to read and navigate. In addition, make sure you are listed on Google Maps and Facebook Places so you can take advantage of the fact that 40% of local searches are for small businesses.
6. Use a Loyalty Reward Program
If you use it consistently, a loyalty program is a truly valuable way to continually engage with customers. There are many platforms out there for small business owners. For example, Belly turns smart phones into loyalty cards, and Swipelysends rewards to debit and credit cards.
7. Stay Active on Social Media
Small businesses can gain at least 25% of new customers via social media, which is great because search engines look for and reward social activity. Many small businesses use social media to collect feedback from customers, provide customer service, and build loyalty.
8. Share Promotions
Instead of just sharing Groupon vouchers, discounts, and promotions in email, share them online and via text. Seventy-three percent of consumers look for Groupons and other discounts online, 59% of customers visit a business specifically to use a Groupon or other coupon, and 90% of consumers read texts from businesses within three minutes of receiving the text on their phone.